Monday, May 6, 2013

My Euphemism Nightmare!

Here is something I wrote a few years back, but never posted it in my blog, so here is a rewrite............

My wife and I and a group of friends had just finished hearing a sermon that warned us about the use of euphemisms. The topic was fresh on all of our minds as we arrived at a friend’s house to play cards. A euphemism is a word that is used as a less offensive substitute for an objectionable word. The preacher implied that we all have developed a bad habit of using euphemisms as substitutes for blasphemous words. 

He suggested that this was not acceptable because our intent was still the same. Therefore, in a religious context, his conclusion was that we were still guilty. For example, instead of using the Lord’s name in vain, such as the exclamation, “O my God”, or blurting out "Jesus Christ", we substitute a euphemism such as, “O my Goodness”, or "Jiminy Cricket". Instead of saying damn, we say darn. 

Was our good intention of substituting certain words for 'bad' words acceptable with the Man above? As our card game got underway, we mulled over the question of our guilt in the use of euphemisms. And as time went on, all of us began to be more critical of how we substituted words.

On the first round of cards, my wife got a bad hand and quickly shouted, “O sugar!”. Immediately, we pointed at her and found her guilty of a euphemitical error. We knew that she really meant was, “O sh__”. 

With each hand we began to spew out more and more euphemisms, and each time a person said one, the others would point at the accused and find them guilty on the spot. On one round of cards, someone exclaimed, “Son of a gun”. We all pointed and yelled. We knew what they meant. The next round someone got a good hand but said, “Holy cow”. Again, we all pointed and jeered. The more we played, and the more intense the game got, the more we became accursed. “Gosh darn it”. “Jeepers”. 

After a while it seemed like it was safer to say nothing, but the card game kept us off track through the excitement and challenge of the game. The euphemism accusations continued until we couldn’t seem to draw a line between an acute case and a mild case, or as the Catholics might say, a mortal euphemism and a venial euphemism. This started to accelerate when I was dealt three aces and innocently said softly, “wow”. Everyone pointed at me and yelled, “Euphemizer!”

After a while, things escalated to the point where it seemed that no one knew when to draw the line. Was any form of exclamation a euphemism? Even someone’s “whew” drew wrath. A cough was questioned. Clearing of the throat was out. After a while I started guarding my language to avoid any chance of a euphemism. Could I possibly make it through the game without any more accusations? The game was not of cards anymore but was a challenge to see who could complete the game without saying any more euphemisms. 

I was determined to make it through. However, to my demise, it didn’t take long until I made a fatal error. During the last deal, I couldn’t help being excited over what was certainly the winning hand. In a sense of confidence and pride, I slightly raised my right eyebrow. O No! I immediately realized what I had done, but it was too late. I had been spotted, and accused of yet another euphemism. Guilty, I was utterly defeated. Thanks preacher! I hope I don’t go to heck because of all of this!

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